The Economic Impact of Human Service Nonprofits - Exponent Philanthropy
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The Economic Impact of Human Service Nonprofits

At Foellinger Foundation, we know that nonprofit organizations provide immeasurable support to our communities. By nature, they balance the scales, delivering services that otherwise might not be available to those who need it most.

These organizations touch individuals in our community on a very personal level—counseling those who’ve experienced trauma, helping people re-enter the workforce, providing the homeless with refuge, and so much more.

Their impact reaches further, though—we also know that. We continue to invest in nonprofit organizations because they comprehensively lift up our community’s quality of life.

Since there are so many 501(c)(3) human service organizations in Allen County, Indiana, we wanted to know, what are the tangible numbers at stake here?

Foellinger Foundation and Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne provided financial support for the Alliance for Human Services (AHS) to engage local consultants to research the economic impact of these human service organizations.

This conversation has been in the works for a while now. In 2016, AHS was formed to help create a united voice, share resources, advocate, and build relationships in support of its member organizations. Today, more than 50 Northeast Indiana nonprofit organizations work together to communicate the collective impact of human service nonprofits.

The key findings gleaned from the Economic Impact of Allen County’s Human Service Organizations study are that our nonprofit human service organizations:

  • Make Allen County an attractive place to live, visit, and do business
  • Support Allen County’s statewide and national economic strength
  • Are the trusted vehicles through which Allen County citizens express their values

Four major areas of distinction came to light:

A source of economic strength

There are 373 human service 501(c)(3) organizations in Allen County, and they contribute more than $722 million to Allen County’s gross regional product. These organizations generate over $405 million in annual revenue and hold $552 million in assets. And despite their tax-exempt status, they generate approximately $4.1 million in direct, indirect, and induced taxes at the county level every year.

A major employer

These 373 organizations directly employ 11,174 full-time employees making human service organizations the second largest employer in the county, second to hospitals. Plus, through indirect/induced activities that support these organizations, an estimated additional 4,234 jobs are created in our community.

High average wages

The 11,174 employees of human service nonprofits earned more than $382 million in wages in 2016. Their average annual wage of $31,231 is higher than the sectors of real estate, retail and full-service restaurants, and employment services, which are among the largest employment sectors in Allen County.

Diverse revenue sources

Among the 100 largest human service organizations in Allen County, program services and investment income account for more than 50% of total revenue. Contributions, gifts, and grants account for 46% of their revenue.

Download the full report >>

Our hope is that, with a fuller understanding of the comprehensive benefits that human service organizations provide to us, our community will understand the importance and impact of their services and continue (or start!) supporting the work they do to elevate our community’s quality of life.

Cheryl Taylor has been president and CEO of the Foellinger Foundation since 2001 and a member of its board of directors since 2002. She serves on its executive, investment, and finance committees, and provides staff support for its board development committee. She also serves on the board of directors of Community Partnerships, Inc.


  1. Mike Landram

    Thank you, Cheryl, for a great blog piece on the recent Impact Study of Non-profits in Fort Wayne, Indiana/Allen County. Impacts of the non-profit sector in our area are significant both economically as well as the human impact these human service organizations make on individuals and families. Thank you to both Foellinger and the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne in making this study a reality.

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